Ron Kagan is the CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society and an advocate for compassionate conservation, animal welfare, and humane education. He has worked at and consulted for numerous zoos and aquaria over the past three decades, and lectures at universities and conferences around the world. Ron has authored numerous scientific and policy papers in journals, encyclopedic entries and book chapters on museum and zoological subjects.
He created, co-wrote and produced ten internationally award-winning wildlife conservation and welfare documentaries, and established both the Berman Academy for Humane Education and the Center for Zoo Animal Welfare. He has led the development of unique and award-winning facilities including a Gorilla Conservation Research Center, the “Wilds of Africa”, the “Wildlife Interpretive Gallery” (a museum exploring the relationship between humans and animals over time and in different cultures), the National Amphibian Conservation Center, the “Arctic Ring of Life” (largest polar bear facility in the world), the Ford Education Center, the Wild Adventure Simulator (a motion-based cabin simulator that builds empathy for other species as people experience life through animals’ eyes), and the Polk Penguin Conservation Center.
Among the boards Ron serves or has served on are: The Center for Zoo Animal Welfare (Chair), International Council of Museums, American Alliance of Museums, Independent Sector, Regents of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Chair), Association of Animal Sanctuaries, Michigan Nature Conservancy, Gorilla Rehabilitation Conservation and Education Center (Chair) (Democratic Republic of Congo) and the International Black Rhino Foundation.